Thursday, June 23, 2011


I am sure you saw the story about the penguin that took a wrong turn and ended up over 4,000 miles away from home. The people who found the little black and white dude were amazed - how could this little guy end up in New Zealand instead of Antarctica?

Have you ever been lost? There is nothing like the feeling of being lost. I recall getting away from my parents in a mall in San Antonio, Texas when I was just a lad and then realizing that I was lost - I can still remember the feeling of dread I had. Fortunate for me my parents looked for me and found me - with some of my behavior at that age I was very blessed that they came looking. Seeing my Mom's face put the oxygen back in my lungs -- her lecture about wandering off and scaring her to death was bearable, as long as I was back with Mom and Dad.

The feeling of being lost is about as powerful as any human emotion. We get lost in every way imaginable - sometimes it is willful, sometimes it is because we are a klutz, (like me) and sometimes it is so gradual that we never even see it happening until it is too late.

Jesus told these clever stories in Luke 15 on the subject of lostness: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and lost sons. One of the points he is making is about God's love for those who are lost, for whatever reason. The picture of a shepherd who leaves his entire flock behind to look for one little lamb. Wow that is amazing! The woman who cannot live until she finds that one coin that is a special keepsake and treasure - she has a party when she finds it! And then there is that Father who runs to meet his rascal son when he sees him coming home!

I know what it is like to be lost. I know also what it is like to be loved by God, my run to me Father, as I turn my heart toward home.

I hope the little penguin makes it back home and that he is greeted with love by his family when he makes it to Antarctica - home, sweet, home!

If you are lost, there is nothing like the joy of coming home. I hope you know that.

Just thinking, Steve

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When the Underdog Wins

I love Basketball but the NBA finals had no appeal to me when the games began this year. The Miami Heat are easy to dislike, with their high paid, self-centered players boasting of a dynasty that does not exist. But I have lived most of my working career in the shadows of Houston and it is the job of anyone in the Houston area to detest anything from Dallas. So I simply had no interest in the games.

Then when I returned from a brief vacation I made the mistake of watching one of the games. I was hooked. The games were close with fierce defense and amazing basketball by both teams.
The Mav's, those detestable Dallas guys, were clearly the underdogs according to all the "experts". But, of course, the experts are often wrong - so Dirk and the guys upset the Heat and ended the series in a very convincing fashion. Another underdog is the winner!

I think one of the appeals of Jesus was that he was always rooting for the underdog. The people everyone had written off as hopeless were the focus of much of his attention and mission. I have always enjoyed Luke's narrative about the life of Jesus because it overflows with stories of Jesus reaching out to the outcast, the down and outs, and the underdogs.

The underdog story inspires us perhaps because we realize that we could be a winner too!

I ended up rooting for those Dallas guys to win! (I cannot believe I am actually admitting that!)

Take courage - even if you feel like an underdog you could be an amazing winner - Jesus has a way of making the most unlikely champions! (Samaritan women, Tax collectors, Lepers, Uneducated fishermen and more!)

Just thinking, Steve

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Proper Place

It happens to me occasionally and I have a feeling you have experienced it as well. I wear my iPod when I work out in the mornings and I hear a song and then it is in my head all day long. One morning I heard the song "My Sharona" while running - I don't even like the song but all day long it was in my head repeating the irritating line "my Sharona...."! Once I ran a 10 mile race and while we were waiting for the start the song being blasted over the loud speakers was "Play that funky music white boy..." - I ran 10 miles with that line repeating in my head! It was awful!

Today I heard another song - simple little tune first sung by a group called the Velvet Underground - a rock group from the late 60's and early 70's. Lou Reed and John Cale were the most famous members of this odd little group. They disappeared quickly as a group with no big hits. The song I heard today was simply titled "Jesus - My Proper Place". The Velvet Underground were not a religious group - far from it. I have no idea why they sang this song.

The words - Jesus, help me find my proper place. Help me in my weakness -- Jesus, Jesus, help me find my proper place.

That little song describes a prayer I have prayed often - asking the good Lord to help me find my proper place in life. You may have prayed it as well.

I think for most this is one of life's most important goals - to find our proper place.

Paul had this great line in Ephesians 2:10 where he says that we are designed by God for good works - our place is to serve. When we find that place it is a sweet feeling.

Of course, the proper place is not really geographic - we can be anyplace and be in the proper place with God's purposes. It is more a matter of our heart and mind and the spirit - finding a way to live a life expressing the purposes of God in our daily experience.

Jesus - help us find our proper place - this is my prayer today - for you and me.

Just thinking, Steve